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Community cable TV studio at Bromfield nears completion


HARVARD — The Community Cable Access Committee has been working to create a TV studio in unused former library space at The Bromfield School for some time.

Now, it’s almost ready for prime time.

In a report that included a list of those who helped make it happen, CCAC member Jonathan Williams and access coordinator Robert Fernandez brought the selectmen up to date on the project’s progress and current status.

Besides the exciting prospect of having a community TV studio and enhanced live-broadcast capabilities soon, work-in-progress and the opening date the CCAC anticipates are issues of particular import now, with the first day of school this week.

Completed work includes painted interior walls and ceilings, installation of doors and most glasswork, operational bathrooms, heating installed and soon to be tied in, sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire alarms fully operational, lighting and electrical work 95 percent done and internal data wiring in place with Charter due to install cable last week.

The “last big piece,” floor tiling, is underway. And there’s a bonus. With infrastructure in place, the committee will be able to broadcast live from the second floor of The Bromfield School Library, Williams said.

Outside, major earth removal is done and removal of the stairwell is complete. Footings are in place for the retaining wall, now under construction, and walkways and driveway drop-off areas have been roughed out.

In addition, the committee met with school officials as part of the School Readiness process to talk about the project timeline. As a result, a list of must-do items was generated. For example, construction fencing will remain in place until site work is complete and the top of the retaining wall will be protected with secure fence until a new railing is constructed and installed.

The CCAC and the school settled facility operation issues as well, ensuring that the interior door between the studio and the school is locked, with an emergency crash bar and an alarm; the exterior door has an electric lock that requires a key card or fob to open; the pathway and exterior door have motion-sensor lighting and the HCTV’s published guidelines will be followed.

The goal is to complete exterior work by the end of next month and move in by late fall, Williams said.

So far, so good. But some of the CCAC’s game plan hinges on the DPW doing more work than the crew can handle, given other town projects on its to-do list. Later in the Aug. 20 meeting, the selectmen settled the matter with DPW Director Rich Nota when he presented his latest five-year road improvement and maintenance plan.

Nota told the board that he is committed to continuing his role as quasi-project manager for the cable TV studio project and will take on related tasks, such as going out to bid for private contracts.

But he could not assign manpower from his own staff without bumping other projects in the pipeline, which the selectmen agreed would not be a good idea.

Instead, they worked out a strategy to get all the work done without shortchanging anything. As liaisons to the cable group and the Finance Committee, Selectman Stu Sklar and Chairman Marie Sobalvarro agreed to sit down with Nota and the cable folks to estimate how much the TV studio exterior work they were counting on the DPW to do would cost if it’s contracted out. Then, they agreed to take that figure to the Finance Committee with a request for funding.

The next big news should be a date for the Cable TV studio open house, when all of the work can be showcased. The selectmen said they look forward to it with enthusiasm.